How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant with IVF?
A common question that we get is: How long does it take to get pregnant with IVF? Seems like a simple question but the answer is a little complicated and is not going to be the same for everybody.
Fertility treatment is like gambling
Say you go to Las Vegas to play craps. You have two dice and you want to roll "Double Sixes" So you ask the Boxman how long it will take to roll double sixes.
They might look at you strangely because he or she knows that it is possible to roll double sixes on your first try or not roll double sixes at all.
The same is true for IVF treatment. You have a certain probability for getting pregnant based on a number of factors. You could get pregnant on your first try or you might not get pregnant at all.
A better question to ask them is not how long does it take to get pregnant but rather, "What is the probability of a pregnancy occurring if I have one attempt at embryo transfer?" or "What is the probability of a pregnancy occurring if I have two attempts at embryo transfer?" and so on.
What does probability mean?
Let's take another example. Say you have a coin to flip and you want it to come up heads. Before you flip, you have a 50% chance for getting heads. This does not mean that if you flip the coin twice that you are guaranteed to get a heads of one of those two times.
In this case 50% plus 50% does not equal 100%! Your chance for getting a heads is 50% every time you flip the coin. Now, let's say that your doctor tells you that your chances for a pregnancy with an embryo transfer is 50%. This does not mean that you are guaranteed to be pregnant within 2 tries.
In fact, you could have a lot of tries and even with a 50% chance you might not get pregnant.
You could try three times and probability says there is a 1 in 8 chance that your pregnancy test will come up negative all three times.
What are the factors that influence your chances for getting pregnant with IVF?
There are probably hundreds of factors that can influence your probability for a pregnancy. I'll discuss a few of the major ones:
1. Age - As this chart below shows, as women get older, their probability for a successful IVF goes down. Much of this decrease is due to the fact that as women age they are more likely to produce abnormal embryos that do not have the correct number of chromosomes.
2. Ovarian reserve - Women who have poor ovarian reserve do not respond to fertility medications as well, and therefore, produce less eggs. Less eggs means less embryos and therefore less chances to find healthy embryos for an embryo transfer. Compared to other diagnoses, women with poor ovarian reserve have a significantly lower chance for success.
3. BMI - BMI or body mass index is important at both extremes. Women with a very high BMI > 30 and those with a very low BMI, say < 20, have lower IVF pregnancy rates.
4. Smokers - Women who smoke have a lower chance for IVF success Some of this is due to the fact that smoking causes ovarian reserve to drop more rapidly. However, smoking also causes other problems. We know this because smokers who quit before their IVF cycle have better pregnancy rates than those that keep smoking.
Our bottom line:
Some people will get pregnant with IVF right away. Some might take a long time and some may never get pregnant. There are many different variables which will influence how long it takes to get pregnant with IVF but no way to predict exactly how long it will take in your case.
To maximize your chances to get pregnant, we suggest you take natural fertility supplements.